A Charlotte-based hotelier plans to restore the decades-old Plaza Hotel near Carowinds in Fort Mill by this fall.
Chad Patel with Shreeji Carowinds, bought the Plaza Hotel at 3695 Foothills Way in January for $1.2 million. More than $1 million in renovations are slated for coming months.
"The location is great. The building is built in concrete, and it's a beautiful hotel," said Patel, who grew up in Charlotte. "It's just been neglected for many years."
The hotel's notable features include two ballrooms, a 7,000 square-foot restaurant, 5,000 square feet of meeting space, a pool, a sauna and tennis courts, Patel said.
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Opening a full-service restaurant and marketing the hotel for large groups such as family reunions are in the plan.
"We're pushing really hard to try to make it a family-oriented hotel," he said. The hotel is almost opposite the entrance to the Carowinds theme park.
At almost 200 rooms, the hotel is the largest in York County.
Not all of the rooms have been used in recent years. Many were closed to customers because of missing televisions or other amenities, said Patel, who has opened more rooms.
Online customer reviews from recent years on Trip Advisor, which York County tourism officials monitor, have been mixed.
Renovations will improve the building's facade, grounds and interior, Patel said.
After the renovation is complete and all rooms are open, the hotel will be an asset to the county, said Bennish Brown, executive director of the York County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
"Groups want one lodging facility to serve as their headquarters," Brown said. But sometimes they have to spread out in smaller hotels, he said.
Having a full-service restaurant at the hotel will be a big draw in attracting meetings and conferences there, Brown said. Once renovated, the hotel will also be the only hotel with a full-service restaurant off of Interstate 77's exit 90 and one of few in the county.
Patel owns three other hotels in the Charlotte area. Two are near the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.
He has been in the hotel business for more than 10 years, he said.
He is negotiating with three hotel chains and hopes to complete renovations as soon as he finalizes a franchise deal.
The hotel will remain open during renovations, which will occur one floor at a time, he said.